The Charlottesville 29

If there were just 29 restaurants in Charlottesville, what would be the ideal 29?

Tag: Al Carbon

Five Finds on Friday: Eva Solano

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Eva Solano, the Little Star sous chef who has an immigration hearing this month to decide whether she may remain in the country. As the primary provider for her family, Solano is fighting deportation so she can continue to support her family in the United States. You can help her with her battle, as she incurs mounting legal fees and other costs. Help Solano here. Solano’s picks:

1) Tacos de Lengua at El Tako Nako. “It is not hard to know why I love tacos. Tacos are a part of my heritage and roots. As well, this food truck is open until midnight and is convenient. After working a long night in the restaurant, I want to get something fast and yummy.”

2) Ankimo at TEN Sushi. “For some reason, I like to eat liver. The technique used at TEN Sushi when poaching the liver and preparing the components that form the dish work well. It is a very unique and yet simple dish.”

3) Pollo at Al Carbon. “As a working mother, when I was not able to cook for my family, I would always get the pollo from here. My fiance always jokes that I cook all day for other people, but am not able to cook for my own family. We love this pollo. It reminds us of the times we lived in NYC and had all the cultural influences. This pollo is prepared in a traditional Peruvian style and is a family favorite.”

4) Menudo at Super Amanecer. “If you ever want to recover from a hangover, this stew made from cow’s stomach and red chili pepper can save you! This is again very traditional after a long celebration. It reminds me of what my mom would make after holiday parties.”

5) Mole at Little Star. “The first time Chef Ryan said we were going to make mole, I was concerned as it is one of the most difficult, signature Mexican sauces. Sometimes it can have more than twenty different ingredients and takes us two days to create. I have been a chef for fine dining French, Japanese, and Italian cuisines, and I am so excited to make such an authentic sauce from Mexican cultures that is used for celebrations. When I tasted it, I was impressed with the results. Chef makes me proud to show Charlottesville that Mexican ingredients and techniques can compare with fine-dining cuisines of the world.”

Al Carbon Rotisserie Chicken, Charlottesville, VA 10/05/2015

Photo by Tom McGovern

Five Finds on Friday: Francesca Black

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Today’s Five Finds on Friday come from Francesca Black, chef of Continental Divide, which has been closed for two weeks after water damage related to Hurricane Michael, but is poised to re-open next week. Black’s picks:

1) Late Night Burger with a Salty Dog at C & O. “I usually get fixated on one aspect or one ingredient of a dish so, for me, an exceptional food experience happens when that fixation isn’t easy to discern — a temporary whirlwind sets in because it is that good. C&O late night does that for me. I am rarely free during regular dinner hours, so after work we sometimes head over for that divine burger. The crispy bun, the crunchy lettuce, that perfect first bite. It all becomes complete with their salty dog, the delicious classic with fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a salted rim. It’s a great way to end a long work day.”

2) Masala Dosa from Desi Dosa with Turmeric Lassi from Planet Earth Diversified at the City Market. “If I can make it Saturday morning, the City Market rules. I love the Southern Indian vendor Desi Dosa. They focus on letting the intensity of their spices speak for themselves in simple dishes like the masala dosa, a thin stuffed pancake. Speaking of bold spice, the turmeric lassi from Planet Earth Diversified really wakes you up and goes great with spicy the food.”

3) Octopus Tempura and Hot Sake at Now & Zen. “Although hard to choose food favorites, octopus is absolutely up there, and when tempura fried, it’s a whole different level! I could eat Now & Zen’s octopus tempura everyday — it’s perfectly fried, salted and served with spicy mayo. Then with some hot sake — enough said.”

4) Half Chicken and Green Rice with Aji Sauce at Al Carbon. “I was definitely late to the game to visit Al Carbon on 29 but a friend got some take out one night, let me taste it, and I was instantly hooked. The flavors, especially in the homemade sauces, are unbelievable. I like to get the half chicken, break it up into the green rice and cover it in aji sauce, their medium, garlicky wonder.”

5) Fried Chicken and/or Meta’s Burger with Crushed Ice Soda at Mel’s Cafe. “Of all the delicious restaurants in Charlottesville, I think Mel’s might take the cake. Mel’s cures a bad day and makes a good day that much better. I can never choose between the chicken or Meta’s burger, both of which instantly fuel a tingling sensation even at the thought. Continental is so close, too –we are very proud and lucky to have them as our neighbors!”

Introducing Chew Chew Town

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UPDATE (2/12/2018): After a trial run, Chew Chew Town has postponed its full opening. Stay tuned for further updates. 

One of Charlottesville’s most beloved restaurants just got even better. Introducing Chew Chew Town, a new restaurant from the kitchen of Al Carbon. The plan for Chew Chew Town has long been in the works, say Al Carbon owners Claudio and Myriam Hernandez, who have always dreamed of a train-themed restaurant. But, they never had enough space to realize their vision.

They do now.

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Chew Chew Town will serve food by rail. Take your seat at the counter, place your order, and wait for the train to deliver it. While you wait, try out the train whistle on the wall, study the elaborate train set display, or just watch the toy train circulate overhead. When your order is ready, the train car will stop in front of you with your food.

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In addition to a Little Conductor’s menu of hot dogs, burgers, and grilled cheese, Chew Chew Town will offer four varieties of “Loading Dock Nachos” (choriqueso, tinga, picadillo, or slow-corked pork), as well as burritos, salads, and empanadas. Full menu here.

Myriam is a former Montessori teacher (yay, Frost!) who loves children, and Claudio, of course, loves trains. In addition to a family-friendly destination for lunch and dinner, they expect that their new spot will be a natural fit for children’s birthday parties. And, they’ve already got that covered.

Chew Chew Town will be located at 1877 Seminole Trail, right next door to Al Carbon. Follow along on their Facebook page for more details and updates.

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